Lyn Jensen's Blog: Manga, Music, and Politics

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Location: Anaheim, California, United States

Regular contributor ("Carson City Limits" and other content) for Random Lengths (circulation 56,000) in San Pedro, CA, 2001-present. Manga reviewer: LA Alternative (circulation 150,000), 2005-2006. Some manga reviews also ran in NY Press around this time. Entertainment reporting: Music Connection (circulation 75,000), 1983-1906. Travel writing: Oakland Tribune (1998) and Life After 50 (2006). Other bylines: Goldmine, Star Hits, Los Angeles Reader, Los Angeles Times, Long Beach Press Telegram, Blade, BAM, Daily Breeze, LA Weekly. Specializations include community news reporting, writing reviews (book, theater, concert, film, music), copywriting, resumes, editing, travel writing, publicity, screenwriting, lecturing, and content development. Education: B. A. Theater Arts, UCLA. Post-grad work, Education, Chapman University.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Debut Manga Review, 2005: BLU

BLU Lauches With Three Manga

MANGA by Lyn Jensen

Note: the following review was my debut manga column, which ran in LA Alternative, Dec. 2-8, 2005. Since then both LA Alternative and TokyoPop/BLU have become defunct.

"Are those guys making out?" fans wondered when the anime Earthian was released in the nineties. Actually the two locked in embrace were angels from another planet (obviously) but the video first introduced Americans to the Japanese series about gay angels who watch over the "Earthian" (us) while concealing what they are--in more ways than one.

Now TokyoPop, through its BLU imprint, is releasing an English translation of the Earthian manga--the print series--by Yun Kouga. It's one of three current titles for BLU that specialize in a genre called "yaoi" or "shonen ai" in English and "Boys Love" in Japan.

"We use the Japanese, they use the English," Alexis Kirsch of TokyoPop explains.

"The manga series was originally published in the eighties and re-released in a special edidtion format in Asia in 2002. Ours is the English version of the special edition with only minor differences. Our Earthian releases will be four books long, though the main story concludes in book 3. Book 4 has some side stories including chapters that were drawn in 2002 especially for the book," said Kirsch.

BLU is also currently offering two other titles, Love Mode by Yuki Shimuzu and Shinobu Kokoro: Hidden Heart by Temori Matsumoto. "We see the market is out there for these things," says Kirsch, following the surprising success of Fake and Gravitation, two yaoi series in TokyoPop's back catalog.

Earthian is for fans ages 16-up but the other two are more explicit, for adults, ages 18-up. Kirsch calls Hidden Heart "a little hardcore." It's not a single volume of a series, it's a collection of stories where the plots are thin and the gay sex explicit.

Love Mode has more in common with Fake, having been originally published in 1998 by Be X Boy, the Japanese magazine that brought Fake to the world.

As Kirsch describes Love Mode, "No big plot, starts with a case of mistaken identity. A high school boy thinks he's going on a date with a girl, but it's a guy." The guy, meanwhile, thinks the innocent schoolboy's a male hooker with the same name.

Over the next three years [until 2008], BLU will distribute subsequent volumes of Love Mode, focusing more on the nightclub owner who set the two up. Take a look at for other upcoming series. [As of Jan. 2012, site appears defunct, so check book retailers for subsequent yaoi manga published by BLU.]

Friday, January 13, 2012

2008 Interview: Ghost Towne's Blues

Here's a link (hope it works) to an interview I did with Japanese-American rock group Ghost Towne for Random Lengths in 2008:

Ghost Towne Blues

You can find their music on MySpace.

Monday, January 9, 2012

RLN 2/11/11: Who Will Replace Oropeza?

Here's an online version of a news story I did for the Feb. 11, 2011 issue of Random Lengths. It was about Ted Lieu's (and his opponents') campaign to replace the late Jenny Oropeza in the California State Senate:

RLN Reporter Lyn Jensen explores...
Who Will Replace Oropeza?